daeveid allen 88.
(photo credit: )
Any band that features a vocalist on 'space whisper' is in a serious time warp - or in Gong's case, their own universe. And that's exactly where fans of the 40-year veterans of the European progressive rock wars want to be, immersed in the legendary Gong mythology of pixies, gnomes and yogis that stock their inventive material.
Founder and Gong mainstay Daevid Allen actually looks like an overgrown gnome, with his matching flowing white beard and flowing white clothing lending a swirling visual quality to the band's performances. Throw in a brain-melting psychedelic light show backdrop for the band - featuring guitarist/vocalist Allen, his wife Gilli Smyth on vocals and the aforementioned space whisper, legendary guitarist Steve Hillage, and Miquette Giraudy on prog rock staple the synthesizer - to enhance the band's dense, complex songs, and you get an authentic, and surprisingly rocking return to the mind-expanding early 1970s.
Allen, from Australia, formed the band in 1967 in France with Smyth, and luminaries who were associated with the band in their early incarnations included Robert Wyatt, Gary Wright from Spooky Tooth, Maggie Bell and Yes drummer Bill Bruford. Through countless albums, offshoots and projects, Gong evolved into what their Website calls "a band which too few people love too much," full of "buds, satellites, comet-like offshootsâ€¦ but always at the heart of all these bands, musicians, poets, artists and performers lies the original seed vision of the luminous green planet Gong."
While they may have fell out of favor in the post-hippie streamlined '80s and '90s, their expansive space rock has come full circle, landing them lauded 2009 showcases at the Glastonbury Festival and the Big Chill Festival. Local fans can indulge their senses and let their freak flags fly at full mast at the band's two shows as part of the Tel Aviv Music Festival - tonight and tomorrow night (Fri. and Sat.) at the Zappa Club in Tel Aviv.